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A Korean software developer has developed the world's 'first embedded-Linux smart phone'.

Still at demo stage, the IMT-2000 smart phone (brand name Palmi - which may well upset a certain PDA maker) is the outcome of a joint project between PalmPalm Technology SK Telecom and Seoul National University.

The Palmi is loaded with the Tynux Embedded Linux operating system, developed by PalmPalm, and incorporates features few gadgetophiles could resist.

Palmi is both cellular phone and PDA, and has multimedia functionality, including animation, MP3, video communication and voice over IP, to name a few.

In addition, with the help of its Bluetooth wireless interface, playing networked games is possible.

The handset includes: games (provided by Mdream, Korea); Bluetooth (provided by Zeen, Korea) QT/Embedded (provided by Trolltech, Norway); and a web browser from Opera Software.

The IMT-2000 smartphone is based on a StrongARM SA1110 206MHz with a 4 inch LCD display and Bluetooth interface. It also features a camera, serial and USB ports, and a voice codec.

Linux on a smart phone sounds appealing but there is a nagging concern that the evolution of more versions of the operating system, to pitch it towards embedded devices, could lead to fragmentation of the operating system. Also it has to be remembered that Linux has its competitors to become a platform for smart phone.

The Palmi is pitched in the same area as Sagem WA3050, which integrates high-speed wireless technology with Microsoft's Pocket PC platform and Symbian-based devices such as Ericsson's R380. Not to be outdone this week Nokia Networks announced that GEO Interactive Media Group will develop a streaming MPEG-4 video Emblaze(TM) player and telco-grade video server/gateway for the Nokia 9210 Color Communicator

Despite the promise of these technologies there are some signs that uptake has been disappointing. Last week Sagem announced its result would fall short by around 7 per cent due to a slowdown in the market for wireless application protocol (WAP) and general packet radio service (GPRS) mobile phones.

On the technology front, more applications can be expected to be developed for both Linux and Microsoft environments than for EPOC, the operating system used in Ericsson and Nokia smart phones.

However EPOC may have advantages because it was specifically written as a real time operating system - so it is likely to perform better in functions like memory management.

Of course these are they sort of functions that can only be found out by testing, and The Register is open to a long-term loan or 10. Send them to the usual address and we'll put them through their paces. ®

Related link

PalmPalm Technology announces the world's first Linux loaded IMT-2000 smart phone /a>

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